Jonathan Adler says he has a missionary's zeal for great design, and perhaps to that end, the New York-based ceramicist and decorator is coming to Southern California to preach. Adler will appear Nov. 8 at Barnes & Noble in Santa Monica and Nov. 9 at Barnes & Noble in Newport Beach to celebrate the launch of two books: "Happy Chic: Colors" and "Happy Chic: Accessorizing."
Adler wrote them simultaneously, a process that he describes as "agonizing but with a great payoff, like childbirth," and says that he'll add to the series in the coming years. The books, $17.95 each, feature many never-before-seen projects, according to the designer.
"There are some great homes, like a glam hedge-fund manager's place, but unlike other books that are purely aspirational, these are more like workbooks that give really hard core, concrete advice on things like how to arrange stuff and how to combine colors," he says. "I break down how to arrange things with the basic principles, from symmetry, asymmetry, repetition. For colors, I give the actual combos that work using Benjamin Moore paint chips."
Adler, who has built his design empire with ceramics, lighting, furniture and more, launched an HSN line last month. "We've got great things like grosgrain appliqué throw pillows," he said. "They're hyper affordable, like $50 for a set of two. And they're not compromised in quality." The HSN line also includes tea towels and other smaller pieces that cost less than what you might find in his retail stores, including a recently opened 4,000-square-foot outpost in Newport Beach's Fashion Island -- his largest retail location to date.
Asked why he's devoting so much time and retail space on Southern California, Adler denied that he sees the area as a design disaster in need of assistance: "New Yorkers tend to be snobby, but I think L.A. is a total design leader. You all are fun and not stuffy. I'm a big fan."
Catch the compliments in person 7 to 9 p.m. Monday at the 3rd Street Promenade store in Santa Monica and 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at the Fashion Island store in Newport Beach. Readers outside Southern California can check the calendar of appearances elsewhere.